Thermaltake V3 Black Edition Review

Compxpert - 2010-02-22 20:48:35 in Cases
Category: Cases
Reviewed by: Compxpert   
Reviewed on: March 11, 2010
Price: $49.99

Introduction:

A case is probably one of the most important components when building a PC. It provides an enclosure to protect your parts. Is a case just simply that or should it be something more? Thermaltake makes a wide variety of cases for a wide variety of users. Not only do they cater to the higher end user, but they also cater to those on a budget. So whether you're looking for a case that has looks and plenty of features, or are simply looking for a case, Thermaltake has something for you. Today, in particular, we are looking at the V3 Black Edition. The V3 Black Edition does come at a modest price and, as the name suggests, it is painted black inside and out. The case is more than just a black mid tower case, there are other notable features, but we'll save those for later in the review.

 

Closer Look:

With just a quick glance at the box, you can see it comes with a blue LED fan and the case has a sleek, yet basic, design. The right side of the box shows support for the case in multiple languages. On the back, we are shown the features of the case - one of which points out that there is only a single rear 120mm LED fan for exhaust. Considering the price of the case, it is understandable that only one fan is included, but it would be nice if manufacturers in general included at least two fans. Also notable are the included fan filters, like the one on the front panel and the one below the PSU. Lastly, the left side of the box shows there are two models of this case, although it does not note the difference between the two models.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

We are met with the usual in terms of packaging when we unpack the case. The case is wedged between two pieces of Styrofoam and is in a plastic bag for protection. Sensitive areas of the case that could be prone to scratches are covered in plastic.

 

 

 

So far, so good, but what else does this case have to reveal about itself? Let's find out.

Closer Look:

Now we finally got a look at the case in its entirety. The side panel has holes in the side, which are probably there to allow air in to flow over your videocard(s). Although there isn't really a large side panel window, there is a minor one, which is limited to a small sized square in the upper left corner of the panel. Moving on to the front, it would appear the case has four external 5.25" bays. Of course, also looking at the front, you can see there is no fan. The right side does not really reveal much about itself from the picture. On the back is the only fan included in the case. However, under the fan are a set of holes for watercooling applications.

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

The top has holes to accommodate two 120mm fans, which are not included with the case. On the front panel are some familiar things. We have your typical power and reset switches, as well as Power LED and HDD activity LED. The front panel connections consist of two USB ports, a MIC port, and an audio out port.

 

 

 

The case appears to have many optional components, so what does it come with?  Read on and find out.

Closer Look:

Finally, we move on to the innards of the case. At first glance, once the left side panel is removed, there is the baggie of hardware, the wires for front panel connections, and the included fan. Moving on, we can see the front panel comes off, although not easily, which is great since it's not going to just fall off. Behind the front panel is some filter material to filter the air coming in of dust and contaminants. Surprisingly, the front panel connections are not physically part of the panel, which is nice so you don't pull out wire connections when removing the front panel. With the right side removed, we can see that there isn't really much in the way of holes in the motherboard tray to run wires through.  The space between the motherboard tray and internal drive bays is quite large, so there is plenty of room for large expansion cards, among other things.

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

One of the greatest things about this case is that, even for the price, there are some nice features built-in. Here we have just one of those nice features, with tool-less hardware. There is one tool-less lock for each item, which includes one for the external 5.25" bay, one for the external 3.5" bay, and one for the internal 3.5" bay. Internally there are four 2.5" internal bays, one 2.5" external, and four 5.25" bays.

 

 

 

Taking a further peek inside, there is the fan filter for the PSU. It would be nice if it was removable with out having to remove the PSU though. We also have the big hole in the motherboard tray which makes it easy to swap out heatsinks that use rear attaching brackets, without having to remove the motherboard.  On the rear of the case, we have holes for watercooling tubes to run in and out the case from the outside. Finally, we have the fan, which is a 120mm bright blue LED type fan. It runs at a max of 1300RPM, pushes a modest 50CFM, and is rated at a quiet 17dbA.

 

 

 

 

Now we get a look at the manual and hardware. The manual simply goes into detail of how to install hardware into the case. Provided with the case also is a speaker, which I can't say I've seen in any other case I've received. There is a bag of hardware which includes several screws for the motherboard, PSU, and other useful components.

 

 

 

 

Moving on, we have our internal connections for the front panel audio, USB, power switch, reset switch, power LED, and HDD LED. Lastly, we have the finished product. Assembly was quite easy and went off with out a hitch. However, the case could have stood to have more space between the top of the motherboard tray and top of the case. Once installed, it was hard to put the second fan on the heatsink, as there was so little space. In fact, there was just enough space for the fan to fit up against the top. Though this prevents you from having a fan above a push pull configuration heatsink, I found that it still is possible to use the second fan area on the top panel. Wire management could have been better, but with the way the harddrives go in, frontward as opposed to sideways, it was hard to find something large enough to hide excess wires behind.

 

 

 

So we've seen all there is to see here, but how well does this case perform compared to the competition?

Specifications:

 

 

Case Type
Mid Tower
Material
SECC
Front Bezel Material
Plastic
Color
Black
Side Panel
Windowed
Motherboard Support
MicroATX
Full ATX
Motherboard Tray
No
5.25” Drive Bay
4
Ext. 3.5” Drive Bay
1
Int. 3.5” Drive Bay
4
Expansion Slots
7
Front I/O Ports
USB 2.0 x 2,
HD Audio ports
Cooling System
- Front (intake):
120 x 120 x 25 mm (optional)
 
- Rear (exhaust):
120 x 120 x 25 mm TurboFan (1300 rpm, 17 dBA, 50.0 CFM)
 
- Top (exhaust):
120 x 120 x 25 mm (optional)
 
- Bottom  (intake):
120 x 120 x 25 mm (optional)
Liquid Cooling Capable
No
Liquid Cooling Embedded
No
Power Supply Supported
Standard ATX PSII(optional)
Power Supply Included
No
Dimension (H*W*D)
430(H) x 190(W) x 473(L) mm
16.9(H) x 7.5(W) x 18.6(L) in
Net Weight
4.8 kg
10.6 lb.
Warranty
3 year

 

Features:

 

 

All information courtesy of Thermaltake @ http://www.thermaltakeusa.com/Product.aspx?C=1390&ID=1913

Testing:

I ran the V3 Black Edition through the usual gauntlet of tests. I tested CPU temperatures, GPU temperatures, HDD temperatures, and chipset temperatures at both idle and full load. I used HwMonitor to check temps for GPU, HDD, and chipset and RealTemp for CPU temps. To generate load on the CPU and chipset I ran Prime95 in blend to stress these components. I ran this for an hour and then recorded the temperature at that time. For GPU load, I ran folding@home for an hour also and I used HDtune to generate load for the hard drive. For all idle tests, I simply allowed the system to idle for a whole hour and then recorded the temperatures.

 

Testing System:

 

Comparison Cases:

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It seems that the V3 stuck right by the competition in just about everything. I was surprised to find though that the CPU load temperature was drastically different from the results that the other cases had. It is very likely because the case only has one fan, but one may never know for certain. For a sub-$50 case, however, I would say this one isn't half bad for what it has.

Conclusion:

All in all, this case is not a bad case at all. It stood right with the competition in three out of four of the tests. Not only that, but compared to the similarly priced NZXT Gamma, the V3 sported more features - including an external 3.5" bay, rear LED fan, and the small window on the side panel.  Like the Gamma, the V3 is all black. It is interesting that the specifications mention no water cooling support and yet there appear to be holes in the rear of the case to accommodate this. If you would happen to plan to go with water cooling on this case, you'll need some grommets for the tubes to run to the outside, as the case did not come with any. Of course, some costs have to be cut when you have a case at a price like this and though it has capability for up to five fans total (six if you were to modify the side panel to accept a fan), it would be nice if at least two fans were included in the package. Additionally, like the NZXT case, there is an included PSU fan filter if you so choose to mount the PSU so the fan faces it.  Despite this beneficial filter, it is unfortunate that you can't remove and clean it without having to remove the PSU. It's great to see that manufacturers are putting a large hole in the motherboard tray, because its way too much of a hassle to have to remove the motherboard in order to change heatsinks or install a waterblock. There were some issues with wire management, since the layout of the case does not make it easy to hide wires where I usually would - behind the harddrives - since it is forward mounted in this case. However, this design is better since it allows air to easily pass over the hard drives without any obstruction. There aren't too many bad things about this case and the good far out weigh the bad. The V3 is a feature packed case for $49 and leaves you with that much more money left over to spend on what matters most in any build - the hardware.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: